The current experimental work deals with the chemopreventive studies of a hydroalcoholic extract of Withania somnifera roots, against 20-methylcholanthrene induced fibrosarcoma tumours in Swiss albino mice. A single subcutaneous injection of 200 microg 20-methylcholanthrene in 0.1 mL of dimethylsulphoxide into the thigh region of mice produced a high incidence (96%) of tumours. Oral treatment of animals with 400 mg/kg body weight of Withania somnifera extract (one week before injecting 20-methylcholanthrene and continued until 15 weeks thereafter) significantly reduced the tumour incidence, tumour volume and enhanced the survival of the mice, compared with 20-methylcholanthrene injected mice. The tumour incidence was also delayed in the treatment group when compared with 20-methylcholanthrene injected mice. Liver biochemical parameters revealed a significant modulation of reduced glutathione, lipid peroxides, glutathione-S-transferase, catalase and superoxide dismutase in extract treated mice compared with 20-methylcholanthrene injected mice. The mechanism of chemopreventive activity of Withania somnifera extract may be due to its antioxidant and detoxifying properties.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.